How Introverts Can Be Great Leaders

Here’s an interesting guest post perspective on the strengths that introverts might not realize they have.  And, yes, I’m sure some of the extroverts in our audience might have some counterarguments to share. This post is written by Jacob Shriar, Growth Manager at Officevibe.

I’ll start by saying that I’m an introvert.

Often, I avoided getting into a sales or manager role simply because I thought there was no way that I could handle it. I was convinced that you needed to have that “used car salesman” attitude to be good, and I definitely didn’t have that.

What I’ve learned recently is that you don’t need to be an extrovert to be good in a leadership role. In fact, there are a lot of qualities about introverts that make them great leaders.

1. Introverts Plan Properly

One of the CEO’s that I respect the most is a close family member. One of the things I’ve always admired about him is that every company-wide speech he gives is always made up on the spot. I never understood how he was able to do that. I require much more planning and preparation.

An introverted leader will be good at documenting and preparing employees for whatever they need help with.

2. Introverts Are Attentive

I’ve noticed this about introverts, and it’s something I really respect. When someone is talking to us introverts, they have our full attention.

That’s really just common courtesy, but I find introverts are much better at this. They also usually pick up on social cues and body language much better. Also, the fact that introverts are naturally quiet makes them great listeners.

3. Introverts Push Themselves Harder

Introverts would make great leaders for this reason. It might be because of our insecurity, but we’re very hard on ourselves, and we’re never satisfied, so we always push ourselves to be better and better.

This striving for excellence is a great quality for any leader to have.

4. Introverts Are Less Risky

How Leaders Leverage Opportunity through Entrepreneurship

This is a guest post by Mohsin Memon, the founder and director of Memcorp Learning and Performance Solutions. Memcorp believes in entrepreneurship in its truest form.

How often have you heard the phrase ‘lead by example’?  Probably one too many times.  We’re all told that we ought to lead by example without any understanding of what leaders do, much less how they think.  First and foremost we must recognize that great leaders from all walks of life embrace entrepreneurship not only in action but entrepreneurship in its truest form. Which means they entrepreneu in all aspects of their lives.  Entrepreneu is a verb and it constitutes many elements, but we’ll focus on one key element of what it means to entrepreneu here: Leveraging Opportunity.

Great leaders are great opportunists.  They are patient and wistful about the right opportunity. This doesn’t mean they idly wait for the perfect time to make a move. It means that they make the best of their current scenario.  An effective leader does that in two ways.

Creating Opportunity

When we think of creating opportunity, we realize that we must make decisions that help us create the right opportunity.  Yet with decision making, we often think simply in the terms of a decision that leads to one good outcome and another that perhaps leads to one bad outcome. The key word to be understood here is ‘one.’   To create real opportunities, we must think of decisions that could be made that lead us to arrive at multiple positive outcomes.

Great leaders are in a constant hunt for opportunities where they can apply the law of dual reasoning, when their one action stems from two distinct and profitable reasons.  In such a scenario, through the outcome of their decision they will have positioned themselves in a way to have a choice of two positive options instead of one good and one bad outcome. This enables them to create opportunity with choices.

 

Great leaders are great opportunists. -Mohsin Memon

 

Leveraging Circumstance

More often than not we’re put in situations that we are not content with.  Life doesn’t always pan out as we plan it, which is why we must adopt the mentality of Leveraging Circumstance. The mentality of Leveraging Circumstance comes from the understanding of what the great author Napoleon Hill once said: “Every adversity, every heartache carries within itself a seed of equivalent or greater benefit.” When we truly understand what the author is trying to say, we can begin to leverage our circumstances. In simple terms, we’re speaking of that silver lining in things that don’t go our way.

Everything Connects: An Interview with Faisal Hoque

 

My friend Faisal Hoque is a serial entrepreneur, author, and thought leader.  His life is a modern story of success, failures, and resiliency – leaving Bangladesh at 17 for the United States where he has since founded businesses including SHADOKA and others.  You may know his writing from Fast CompanyHuffington Post, Forbes, or BusinessWeek.

I previously talked with him about The Power of Convergence.  His latest book, written with Drake Baer, Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability. Like all of his writing, it is packed with ideas.

Everything Connects

Faisal, it’s so good to talk with you again.  Let’s start with your definition of “connectivity.”  What is it?  Why is it so important? If it is that important, how do we cultivate it?

 

There is no substitute for inspiration, curiosity, and passion. -Faisal Hoque

 

Being holistic and humanistic is key to a great life and doing great work.

faisal.hoque300dpi2013Connectivity is a sense of journey to the sense of purpose — it is an individual, lonely pursuit and a collective, companionable one at the same time.

Our individual, interpersonal, and organizational working lives all interconnect. By examining these connections, we learn new ways to create, innovate, adapt, and lead.

We need to address our own mental experiences, our social interactions, and the mindset we can take to orient ourselves to this holistic, long-term view.

We need to explore understanding that leads to long-term sustainability, the way to act in a manner that promotes mutual flourishing, and how, crucially, a leader can urge us along this process.

We need to arrange our lives and our organizations in a way that leads to long-term value creation: surveying the subtle and not-so-subtle arts of idea generation, decision-making, and creating continuous value.

The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest timeless practices like mindfulness, authenticity, and perseverance—because Everything Connects.

Understanding Unique Motivations

“Somewhere along the way, people become convinced that stasis is safer than movement. Consistency feels comfortable; volatility is frightening.”  As a leader, how do you motivate people out of the comfortable?

I think first, we have to appreciate the interior complexity of the people that we work with. Then, we need to make the links between a person’s individual motivations and what our organizations need. In other words, link the individual–personal goals like career trajectories–to the collective group goals like innovation, revenue growth, and impacting the world.

Leaders need to connect with the emotional intelligence of their people and curate their talent to change, adapt, move forward.  There is no substitute for inspiration, curiosity, and passion. -Faisal Hoque

To do this we need to understand what people need from their work in order to do their best work–and how leaders can help arrange that for them. This distinction is rooted in intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. If people are intrinsically motivated, there is something inside of them that pushes them to their work; if they are extrinsically motivated, something outside of them brings them there.  They embrace the unknown, volatility.  Leaders need to connect with the emotional intelligence of their people and curate their talent to change, adapt, move forward.  There is no substitute for inspiration, curiosity, and passion.

The Benefits of Meditation

You place a lot of value on meditation, calling it the “batting cage for getting familiar with the fastballs and curveballs of our conscious and unconscious habits.”  Off the top of your head, what are the top three benefits of meditating?

3 Leadership Development Tips to Help Bring Out the Leader in You

This is a guest post by Dale Carnegie Training, a company founded on the principles of the famous speaker and author of one of my classic favorites “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Today, the company offers leadership training to help businesses and individuals achieve their goals.

As the year comes to an end, now is the perfect time for business professionals to reflect on the past year, review what they did well, and determine what skill set areas need improvement. One skill that every businessperson should possess is leadership. Great leadership qualities are a key to success and allow people to be able to take charge of situations to ultimately get the job done. No matter what field you are in, having good leadership skills is critical to your success. Use the following tips and insights from Dale Carnegie Training, one of the leaders in leadership training, to help bring out your inner leader.

 

Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic. –Dale Carnegie

 

Work on Your People Skills

One skill that is often overlooked in the business world is people skills. More than just being social and likeable, people skills allow you to understand how to deal with other people in an efficient and positive manner. This skill can ultimately help leaders win business simply by creating positive experiences for people with whom they interact. People skills are also extremely important in resolving conflict and can help leaders keep team members motivated and engaged at all times. By learning how to interact with others in an effective way, you will be able to better collaborate with your team to ultimately reach company goals.

 

Our thoughts make us what we are. –Dale Carnegie

 

Communication is Key

In order to effectively lead, one must become an expert in communication. The way people communicate can instantly cause a positive or negative reaction, which can greatly affect the outcome of any situation. Leaders should be able to inspire others while also remaining confident and professional.

Good listening skills are also a big part of effective leadership and communication. By listening to those around you, and keeping the lines of communication open, you will have a better understanding of the wants, needs and ideals that are critical to fostering a successful environment.

 

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain-and most do. –Dale Carnegie

 

Invest in Leadership Training

For some, being a leader comes naturally. However, most leaders could greatly benefit from management training programs to help them develop and fine-tune these skills. Look for leadership development learning opportunities. Whether you find a seminar offered through your company, or opt to take an online course on your own, these seminars can be extremely beneficial and can help improve communication and interpersonal skills. Leadership training can provide useful tips, insights and valuable hands-on experience. Even if your company doesn’t offer training opportunities, make it a point to find training opportunities for yourself and be proactive about your leadership.

 

A Leader’s Responsibility

 

Max DePree makes it seem so simple:

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. -Max DePree

Let’s break down the wisdom in this quote:

A SERVANT.  A LEADER.

Previously, I shared the nine qualities of a servant leader.  The servant leader has characteristics of both a servant and a leader.  The characteristics are blended together in a harmonious balance.  The result is a servant leader we can all admire.

 

“A servant leader harmoniously blends characteristics of leadership with service.” -Skip Prichard

 

DEFINE REALITY

Defining reality is a huge part of leadership. You want to follow a leader who is honest about the current situation you face as an organization.

A leader should be optimistic but still realistic. If a company is nearing bankruptcy, you want a leader who understands the gravity of the situation—but not one who is frozen by that reality. You want someone who can navigate through the storm and lead everyone to the best possible outcome.